There’s a lot of work that goes into getting your home ready for holiday guests: cooking, cleaning, adding fresh sheets to the guest room.
But when one of your guests has a disability, your job is to make your home not just hospitable, but accessible. If this is new territory for you, don’t worry. We’ve put together a few tips to help guests who have disabilities feel more at home.
If your guests are visually impaired…
- Shake hands or hug when introducing yourself, while making sure to say your name as you do. If there is someone with you, let the guest know the direction they’re in. (“My husband Ray is to my left.”)
- Don’t feel the need to speak in a louder voice (unless they have trouble hearing too).
- Let your guest know if you need to move into another room in the middle of your conversation.
- Let them take your elbow for assistance while showing them around the house. Warn them of any steps or inclines.
- Show them to their seats at meals. This may just be a matter of putting their hand on their chair and letting them go from there.
- Let them know where things are on the table using clock measurements. (“Mashed potatoes are at your 10.”)
If you have guests with mobility challenges…
- Remember that most wheelchairs are 24 to 27 inches wide. Create a floor plan in your home that allows wheelchair users to move around from room to room. You may need to temporarily put away end tables or other smaller pieces of furniture to give guests more space.
- Pick up a shower seat and install a removable shower head if your guests will be with you for a few days or even overnight.
- Consider renting a wheelchair ramp if the entrance to your home has steps. You may also want to consider a temporary stair lift rental in Pennsylvania to help guests get from floor to floor. A stair lift rental can benefit not only wheelchair users, but older guests who may have trouble getting up and down the stairs.
- Remove throw rugs and any other low-lying obstacles.
If you’re expecting guests with dementia or Alzheimer’s…
- Talk to caregivers in advance to learn your guest’s stressors or emotional triggers.
- Lock doors and block staircases.
- Hang a sign that guides people to the bathroom.
- Keep a quiet space or bedroom set aside in case your guest with dementia feels restless and needs a nap.
- Keep in mind that even if they remember you, they may not remember recent events. You may need to tell them about something they experienced – your son’s graduation, your wedding – as if they are hearing about it for the first time.
- Stay positive and engaging. Answer their questions in a way that doesn’t make them feel bad for not remembering.
If you’ll be having guests who are deaf or hard of hearing…
- Don’t yell or make theatrical mouth movements when speaking.
- Make eye contact when you talk to your guests, even if you’re talking to their translator.
- Have a note pad and pen or cell phone around in case they don’t have a translator.
- Learn a few phrases in American Sign Language: “Welcome,” “It’s time to eat,” etc.
If you’re welcoming guests with developmental delays…
- Let their parents or caregivers adhere to the child’s routines as much as possible.
- Don’t offer advice unless the parents ask for it.
- Engage the child. Asking questions about them when they’re in earshot will undermine them.
At Pennsylvania Stair Lifts, we’ve made it our mission to help people feel welcome and comfortable in their homes. And because your home becomes your guests’ home during the holidays, our mission extends to your place as well. So consider calling us for your stair lift rental needs in Pennsylvania.